The Worst Way to Fix Sciatica (DO THIS INSTEAD!)
The Worst Way to Fix Sciatica (DO THIS INSTEAD!)

Nope, nope, nope. Let’s draw the line there. What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, Yes, even I draw the line somewhere. You should also because overuse of the lacrosse
ball, or the foam roller, when it comes to fixing all that ails us, is a major problem
that I see these days. I think that when you’re doing mobility
work and you’re trying to fix issues, especially sciatica, which I want to talk to you about
today, you need to be much more prescriptive about it. It’s not just “Oh, take a lacrosse ball
and smash everything.” No, because if you look at the sciatic nerve
a lot of people will suffer from sciatic nerve pain. Meaning, the numbness, or tingling that will
go down the leg. You can see that before it comes out the backside
here is a really big, thick nerve it starts as a combined grouping of all the lumbar nerves
that come out here at different levels, and they feed down into that nerve. Well, the number one cause of sciatic nerve
pain, or the most damaging cause, would be if you have a disc that was protruding, pushing
on one of these nerve roots. That would cause you to feel the symptoms
down the leg along the distribution of that nerve. Doing any kind of stretch that I showed you
here is not going to affect or improve that because you’re dealing with an issue higher
than the issue I’m going to show you. However, if you come around the back side,
if you’re not dealing with a lumbar disc issue and you’re getting sciatic nerve pain
it’s called Piriformis Syndrome. Piriformis Syndrome, you can see, is caused
because this muscle right here, this small muscle called the Piriformis, will compress
the sciatic nerve. I told you it was big. Look at how damn big that thing is. It will compress this nerve, which will cause
that numbness and tingling down that distribution of the nerve like I already talked about. We want to make sure that we’re addressing
this muscle to relieve the tension off that nerve. But you’re not going to do it a lacrosse
ball. Here’s why: if I came down to the ground
and start taking this lacrosse ball, the first thing someone might to is lean over the side
of it here, and start digging in. The first thing you need to know about the
sciatic nerve is that it’s not all that deep. Surprisingly. So, I can find the nook and cranny here that
might allow me to actually make a pretty strong compression on that sciatic nerve and giving
you the symptoms right down the leg. You might think you’re doing the right thing
because “Oh, yep. That’s where it is. That’s where I need to be.” No. You’re actually compressing it and making
it worse. That’s out. Then what they might do on top of it, which
is even worse, is they might say, “Well, I know you’ve got to stretch it. So, you’ve got to cross this over.” Now, even though I don’t have a sciatic
nerve problem I’m developing one in this video for you guys because now what I’ve
done is effectively thinned out that tissue because I’ve stretched it. So now the depth for me to get access to that
sciatic nerve is more effectively made thinner. So, I can get there a lot faster. So that’s not good. The same thing is done here with the foam
roller. People will argue that you can distribute
the forces over a wider surface area which will fix this problem, but it really doesn’t
because nothing is changing here with the anatomy of what I just showed you. Especially when you start doing this and crossing
over and getting right into that area. If you’ve got sciatic nerve pain you’re
probably making things worse. So, what can you do? Well, we do want to make sure if that muscle
is tight – the piriformis – is causing compression on the nerve, you’ve got to
somehow relieve it. You can do that with a stretch, but you’d
better be gentle. Unlike a lot of other stretches – let’s
say a quad stretch, or a tricep stretch, where you’re not dealing with the nerve issues
that can become compressed by the tight muscle itself. You can be a little bit more aggressive with
how hard you stretch those muscle. But when it comes to this one you really have
to be gentle. But consistency is the key. What you do is get yourself here, into this
90-degree position at the hip, and when you lean forward you can already feel this stretching
going on in that muscle without that real tight compression of the sciatic nerve. The key is, as I turn to the side, how you
do it. If I lean forward like this I’m not really
stretching the piriformis at this point because I’m not really influencing the position
of the hip. I’m working on the position of my lower
back here. If want to get hip action then I need to make
sure that my low back stays extended, and I go out here, and I post up about 2 o’clock
position to my knee. This would be 12 o’clock, 1 o’clock, 2
o’clock. I post up over here and then I just lean in
that position by trying to keep my lumbar spine up nice, and tall. So, I’m trying to stick my chest out as
I lean out in this direction. Now I can feel that stretch. I would back off just a tad, so I feel a nice,
comfortable stretch here, and hold it for about 45 seconds to a minute. Then I let it relax, and come back here and
do another rep. Again, consistency. Multiple times a day. You’ll notice over time you’ll be able
to creep your chest further, and further out over the knee while still keeping that arch
in the lumbar spine. The key here is, stop grabbing this damn lacrosse
ball and rolling everything you think you need to roll because it’s not the solution
to everything. Being much more prescriptive about what you’re
doing and you’re going to get better results, and you’re probably going to stay safer,
and feel better in the long run. Guys, if you’ve found this video helpful
make sure to leave your comments and thumbs up below. Tell me what other things you’d like me
to cover here on this channel and I’ll do my best to do that. I know mobility and flexibility a lot. There’s a lot to cover in that area. Again, as a physical therapist I think you
need to know what you’re doing there before you just start doing everything people tell
you to do. All right, guys. I’ll be back here again in just a few days. Our ATHLEANX program, everything you need
to do, step by step is over at All right, see you soon.

100 thoughts on “The Worst Way to Fix Sciatica (DO THIS INSTEAD!)”

  1. ALPHA 2 says:

    Make a workout for lacrosse. Specifically for defense and long stick midfielders.

  2. Gary Hart says:

    I’m a 64 YO man. Started having a lower back pain during lifting. Added more core exercises and and stretches. After watching your video on not using foam rollers for lumbar, I realized one of the stretches I added made my pain worse. This and your How to Fix Lower Back Pai; squared me up. Thanks!

  3. Jon Manilenio says:

    Would the bird dog exercise help relieve the sciatic nerve pain? what about the mcgill curl up and the side plank to strengthen the back and the abdominal muscles?

  4. king joker says:

    I can't move out of my bed since Sunday pills ain't working at all

  5. Aling Jeprox says:

    It’s my 2nd day practicing this stretch and my pain subsided at 75%, It’s like magic!!! Thank You 🙏

  6. john mac says:

    I went to an osteopath yesterday and what he is saying about the lacrosse ball is everything the osteopath told me to do. And after 1 day i already feel a difference. I guess everyone is different.

  7. George Lewis says:

    Once again awesome advice. Thanks Brotha

  8. john fuller says:


  9. john fuller says:

    Stay in your lane.

  10. Lucas Elmore says:

    Hey Jeff, I am a very active 18 year old, but for the past 18 months I have had pain in my back. I have been to physical therapists and they have not helped really at all. The problem is that I do not feel anything while exercising, it is only afterwards that it hurts. I also feel sciatic pain and have been doing your stretches for a few months without much progress. Any tips?

  11. DatIversongrl10 says:

    Uh oh..we been doing the wrong thing. I have Fibromyalgia and Sciatica happens often as a result. I have bee suffering for weeks. I am going to try this over the weekend. Hopefully it will keep me out of the ER.

  12. PE D says:

    Is it possible there is a relationship between Plantar Fasciitis and Piriformis Syndrome, on the same leg? (I had plantar fasciitis at first, then Piriformis syndrom after 3.5years it started with my fasciitis, and it's not leaving me a breathe).

  13. philly car keys says:

    Good vid. Helpful. Tanx.

  14. Bro cubing says:

    Thnx a lot athlean x……..i have sciatica pain severely and at that moment …u have uploaded a video in sciatica very grateful to u

  15. Dub Siren says:

    I was just about to do all the things you say not to do, ball, roller etc. ……….. perfect timing . Thank you sir !

  16. Ed Jnk says:

    Months, scratch that years I've been dealing with this piriformis pain and you just helped me get crazy relief in 3 minutes.

  17. White Lion says:

    Man thank you so very much god bless you
    I had my lower back sort of locked
    I could not sit or stand
    After I watched your video this morning
    I followed the steps about 30min
    I felt much better I could even go to work

  18. therealdrag0 says:

    Is that basically Pidgeon's Pose?

  19. Mehikan Official says:

    I honestly think I can’t do this due to being over weight 🤣 any over weight ppl has tried this stretch yet?

  20. Benjamin Greene says:

    Great video, tried the stretch. Very helpful, thanks.

  21. Mike Reiffin says:

    do exercises for sciatica aggravate aortic aneurysm..?

  22. Phenomenal says:

    You seem like the most truth YouTuber that says true things about sciatica nerve unlike a lot of these doctors who say to use a foam roller or ball. Quick question do we do that stretch repeatedly alone or do you have any other safe moves to better it and be sciatic free ? Hope you reply thank you

  23. Mattias Lundin says:

    I work as a firefighter and last working day I stretched my lower back and got hurt, then I took out my massage/trigger ball and laid it under my lower back and on the side of my hip because I thought the pain would then disappear, but the pain became much worse afterwards, I could not even set me up from the floor, then I was then thinkinh what the h*ll do I do if we get an alarm now !! ?? But then after 15 minutes i got up from the floor and tried to stretch my back by hanging in a chinupbar, then i made the cobra on the floor and it immediately got much better in the back, i can not smoke dive yet but soon i will be completely restored in the back. Do not make the same mistake as me and put a ball under your back or on the side if you have back pain. // Fireman from Sweden

  24. ShinVega says:

    Great Information. SMR is highly misunderstood and over applied (should be an addition to traditional dynamic, active isolated, and isom. Stretches). Also, never knew this regression for the traditional piriformis stretch, I will be sure to use it!


  25. Antonio tuggle says:

    How long does it take to heal

  26. Glenn Mark Salgado says:

    The # of people who wanna hold Jeff's ball?


  27. Elhesh says:

    THANK YOU, DEAR MAN THANK YOU. Finally I can move again.

  28. Yellow Jacket says:

    Hello from New Zealand! I used to lift weights, and I love using free weights. Standing presses, dead lifts and squats. However one morning I got lax, and was not paying attention….cut a long story short, I came away with bad bad lower back pain. By the end of the day I couldn't lift my left foot off the ground to even put my shoe on! 1 and a half years later, of constant pain in the hip area, knee, back of the thigh and lower back, I come across this video. If ONLY I had come across this 18 months ago! I started doing this stretch both sides 2 weeks ago, numerous times a day…and now I can actually walk without limping, I can bend over without writhing in the lower back and I can actually sit for a while, get up and walk, without looking like I am 80 years old. Thank you for this, it really has worked for me, and it's the best I have felt for so long 🙂

  29. donald trump says:

    you are against 3 DOCTORS physical therapist who said that we should use the tennis ball for the piriformis and one of those doctors is called the king of posture one of the greatest doctors in the universe in my opinion, i'm really confused i have a question are you a doctor ? are you a physical therapist ?

  30. Ulyana Fedechko says:

    Best MAN
    Save money and time. 3 min and my problem gone. God bless you!
    From Ukraine with love

  31. Ikebrick Patrick says:

    Yo, yo excellent information , Jeff I need help I'm using the kettlebells, but I have only 2 kettlebells 20 kgs.. A piece and heavy bands, what the best ways to use those for increasing my vertical and first step. Can you share a video or do something about this..

    Thanks Ikebrick bro appreciated

  32. Tony Brookes says:

    Thanks for your valuable help Jeff. Any chance of a solution to Chronic Compartment Syndrome?
    I run for general fitness, but I have to start slow and build up to my pace gradually, which adds time to my workout.
    Stretching has helped, but it's not totally gone after over a year!

  33. Kunal Mehra says:

    Great advice as always! Thanks Jeff!

  34. Austin Willson says:

    What if the pain is from the discs(like disc degeneration in my case) ? Or other muscles? My whole right side is in pain it's almost a year now. The pain is shooting down to my toes (only the right side). What can I do?

  35. Anteroization says:

    when in pain, i keep moving, either is move or stay in bed resting, after years i decided to ignore the pain, plus neurotin medication in the street is called morontin, keep moving or die a painful death doing nothing.

  36. Mohammed Zishan says:

    Thanks alot Jeff. Jeff's videos have helped me in my worse times. Once when I had a ruptured dics and now with this syndrome which I wasnt aware about. Theres no way I could thank you enough Jeff.

  37. Sholto Torr says:

    Hi Jeff, love the videos, thanks so much for all the time, effort and knowledge you put into this. I don't really have the numbness and tingling down the leg. I do have this aching and soreness right where the piriformis is. The aching is sometimes there or on the lower back or side of the glute. 1 phsio has said its's weak glutes and hamstrings (I've used your videos to try and strengthen) but I haven't felt a release in pressure. Another physio has said it's sciatica and stems from the lumbar. I'll try this strech out and pray it works. This pain has now been here for a year. Its just an irritating ache that's always there. I'm also pretty sure it caused a lower hamstring 6 months injury. I pulled up playing rugby with pain coming just behind the knee on the right side of the right leg. Any thoughts?

  38. Justin Malone says:

    Good bye Agile 8/Limber 11!

  39. Dwight Rivera says:

    Wow thanks for the help!!!!

  40. Randolph Smith says:

    Hi had serious bacterial infection in around sciatic nerve over time from martial Arts exercises. How do I get back my splits

  41. VeeBee81 says:

    What about if Piriformis pain is excruciating? What exercises can I do to get to this point?

  42. Peter Sørensen says:

    Thank you Jeff! You saved my night. 🙌

  43. Victoria Baker says:

    I followed your advice and started doing this exercise, and my pain ALL went away. If I ever have a twinge, I do this stretch and it's gone. I had it a long time, and rolfing helped, but it came back and I didn't have access to the rolfer anymore. This stretch IS THE SOLUTION. I have posted your video to many people asking about it. Thank you so much.

  44. David Bartley says:

    hi Jef I had a hip replacement 3 years ago and now i have what feels like a muscle spasm in the gluts when standing or walking on the same side as the hip replacement would this be the correct exercise? Dave

  45. Daniel LionR says:


  46. icu Rad says:

    can you go through the reason why the Pirifomis takes over?
     I was told that the front glutes and core have weakened so my piriformis kicked in to stabilize my hips and stuff.. and can you show how to now reprogram and restrengthen my front parts to give my piriformis no more reason to run the whole show.

  47. Felix Bosso says:

    Spanish pliss!!!

  48. Dean Russo says:

    Anybody know what to do about chronic leg pain? I've had issues with lower back. Discs and sciatica.

  49. Anvesh Badamikar says:

    Thanks a lot! I had the L4 L5 disc bulge which pinched into the sciatic nerve on the left foot. I’ve visited a chiropractor and fixed my back, and still getting some pain in the sciatic nerve. Guess this is why. Very helpful video. Thanks so much!! Any other stretches I can do for sciatica please let me know!!

  50. Craig Taylor says:

    I use our plinth at work

  51. Punx is idol and noise says:

    I was skeptical of it but it works ,

  52. Surajit Ray says:

    Hi Jeff, I have had this condition off and on for the past year and usually the onset is preceded by an mus-judged dead-lift rep. Any advice on what i could do before a dead-lift session to avoid this problem before it begins ?

  53. Markus Lucas says:

    Love this back problems guide, "Kemzαnο Loni" (Google it)! Out from intense curiosity, I tried this particular program and found that it worked on treating my back ache. Considering that I`m content with the final results, Also I sent the guide to my mother and dad. I had been told that they cannot imagine how good maybe it was. It can resolve your back problems really effectively. .

  54. kevin g says:

    I did the same thing rubbing my sciatic nerve against a wooden board and my whole leg was numb the next day and pain said in about two weeks after so be careful with your nerves.

  55. Pat Miller-Frame says:

    Can’t get on floor! Bad knees

  56. Chris N says:

    Anyone else having this problem right in the very moment you watch it and cannot wait to get the needed information for the stretch? Thanks for making this video so short. I'm going to try this directly and implement it in my daily routine.

  57. Robert Williams says:

    Vary descriptive hopefully it will help

  58. Atmani Abdeslem says:

    Good men am in pain am going to try this and let you know

  59. Pumpkin Pie says:

    Omg the beginning 😂😂😂😂

  60. David Rivera says:

    Im going through that right now and I’ve been doing what you advised against until now….let’s see how this new exercise goes

  61. kaseas lasa says:

    My auntie has been enduring low back pain when she will get up in the morning. Since I`ve provided this lower back pain guideline, "Kemzαnο Loni" (Google it) to my auntie, her ordeal has gone. She is quite glad that she has received the guide..

  62. Aldo Rojas Tovar says:


  63. Chrisyela Irawan says:

    Try streching like just waking up ,push your hands up and your legs dow n in one line (laying position

  64. Ty L says:

    Jeff, thank you for always being so informative.


    So many conflicting things on here, I was in a serious car accident and my physical therapist told me I should use the tennis ball or two tennis balls and roll on them to relieve sciatic pain

  66. Yousif Askar says:

    Ive had lower back pain for a few months because of a sports injury. i thought using a tennis ball would help it. it did…for an hour. and then i had bad pain for two weeks. i basically caused my own pain. this stretch is actually really really helping now! do not use the tennis ball/lacrosse ball if you don’t know what the heck you’re doing.

  67. sneakykamon says:

    This! This right here is why I’m a subscriber and a fan! I’ve been dealing with sciatica for about 3 months now. Have done everything to fix it, foam rolling, figure four stretching, etc. I just tried this stretch and instantly felt better. Good thing too because I’m heading to the gym as I type this!

  68. Rikita Turner says:

    My leg hurt in every position/stretch. When I did you stretch with my leg in front while lengthened my spine (key), I felt instant relief and knew I was opening the right area. Ty for posting

  69. Nadine LaPonza says:

    Oh Jeff thank you. I've been in so much pain, limping even. Just once doing this stretch has killed the pain, so I'm keeping it in my daily routine at a minimum.

  70. Happy Me says:

    Sweet little baby Jesus that works! I’ve been struggling with different relief techniques for years and how did I miss this one?!?! Thank u so much! There’s no pill that makes these flare ups go away its videos like yours that helps manage the severe discomfort. 🙏

  71. Jody C. says:

    Is the back leg that is getting the stretch or the bent front leg that you are going over?

  72. Tmob_LeeRoy ! says:

    I've never commented on this channel before but man…that felt so good. Thank you Jeff!

  73. Eddie K says:

    nahh theragun

  74. joel denis says:

    Man I’ve been surfing a lot lately and of all the videos and subscribers I’ve subscribed to this is the best one yet, man I’ve been searching for days. I believe I have sciatica and it’s been effecting me for about 9 years, this stretch here gave me relief almost instantly man thank you

  75. YoooItsRex says:

    How should a pitcher address GIRD? From what I've learned over the last few months, the classic Sleeper stretch puts the shoulder into a position of impingement. Would it be best to use a LAX ball on the infraspinatus? Or are there better ways to address the issue of internal rotation?

  76. schnookimz says:


  77. JD Gatlin Jr says:

    I knew it. Stretching my piriformis caused it. I have it band syndrome and my pt said foam roll quad and it band. Stretch piriformis. I never had a sharp pain till weeks after stretching the piriformis… now I still have it band syndrome and now this pain. And I think it band started becuase something is super tight on my right. I’m almost and inch taller on my left leg then my right. Does this sound like a right right psoas???

  78. kingjohn1966 says:

    Jeff that works like a charm! I’m going through some major back problems again (had a microdiscetomy last August) this year the same disc has a smaller bulge and my tailbone is really inflamed and causing all sorts including tight glutes and hamstrings and a giant pain in my arse cheeks when I sit. This stretch took the arse cheek pain straight out I’ll be doing this all the time now do you have anything that can help with the coccyx and just above?
    Big respect to you
    Ps done the ax1 program couple years ago and that was great aswel keep it up your literally saving lives out here

  79. bigegg7170 says:

    I had sciatica ,and it crippled me,ab excercises were the only releife

  80. Trev WIlliams says:

    You are doing excellent work. Looking for foot and ankle flexibility. But you probably have that video somewhere 😂

  81. TheCopperStill says:

    I was literally crossing over my leg when I started this video, and was like "humm that feels like its streching it", and whilst in that position feeling proud that I just figured it out, Jeff tells me its basically what idiots do.. lol

  82. cesar ortiz says:

    How about a video on tightness behind the right knee

  83. oo ee says:

    4:50 for the stretch

  84. M Louie says:

    Thank you Jeff! You make so much sense. I've been using the foam roller and the ball and it was getting worse but I kept at it as that was what was recommended. After stopping that and doing your exercise, my sciatica improved tremendously. Thanks again.

  85. jay yla says:

    Saved my life pain was bad chiropractor everyday for 3 months did the stretches finally found this video because I had a felling the tennis ball they told me to use wasn’t working
    Did this stretch 2 times a day for 1 week everyday and my back pain would get better everyday thanks a lot

  86. J K says:

    I just did the lacrosse ball last night for the first….and now last….time 😄

  87. Kristine Rodriguez says:

    I`ve looked for a back pain treatment for couple months and this back pain guide, "Kemzαnο Loni" (Google it) fits me properly. Since it aided my back pain, I have no issue sleeping any more. Very delighted with this guidebook. It`s firm and just what I was hunting for..

  88. Debora Smith says:

    My back has been better because I utilized this back ache guideline, "Kemzαnο Loni" (Google it). That`s really a good deal for me because I have worked with many, many guides and also my back still painful right after each a different one. I was shocked my back was better. I am wishing this will by final treatment!. .

  89. Max Bontrager says:

    I used to swim in HS my coach showed me this stretch but I could never remember how to do it. Thank you 👍🏼

  90. Terri Delaune says:

    Thank you, I’m wondering if acupuncture might help

  91. Wild Man says:

    Just tried this on my bed top and it instantly stopped the numb tingly feel inmy toes and the lower back spasms thanks b

  92. Cedric Wright says:

    Thank you👊

  93. Alhely D says:

    Thank you so much. Instant relief. A thousand blessings your way

  94. J. Cook says:

    Thank you. This video saved my life!

  95. Shelley Buchholtz says:

    Lower back pain and tightness is a day to day suffering for me. I`ve tried using common guidebook however it did not truly help. Nevertheless, making use of this back pain guideline, "Kemzαnο Loni" (Google it), was able to take care of my back stiffness substantially. It brought me tremendous comfort. I strongly suggest this guide..

  96. Adam Usmani says:

    The length Jeff goes to produce quality content 2:47

  97. Mitshy Etienne says:

    Thank you for this! I feel so much better. Plus, I was doung the lacross ball thing all along before lol

  98. GamerGamer says:

    Bleh that foam roller… I think I used mine wrong.

  99. Saint Diego says:

    "Consistency is the keAy"

  100. Nick Fletcher. says:

    This and a chiropractor I need

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